HERMON – History will be made Friday night, when the Hermon Hawks step on the football field to host Oceanside in a 4/5 battle in Class C North. It will be the first time the two square off in playoff action, the first time the Hawks ever host a playoff game. But that’s not what makes it historic.
Rather, it’s the first time in school history the team will ever play in a postseason contest, a day these Hawks have waited a long time for.
“It’s huge for the town. It’s huge for people to get together on a Friday night and tailgate together,” senior offensive lineman Garrett Mullen said Monday.
Hermon has been a varsity program for seven years, and the Hawks enter the postseason as the No. 4 seed. The team was winless just two years ago, and won only twice last year. Still, first-year head coach Kyle Gallant says he has seen a dramatic change in how the culture in the town has changed when it comes to football, largely in part due to this year’s team.
“You can stop at any local store here, and that’s all they want to talk about right now,” he said. “That finally the football team is good, finally they have a playoff game. It’s exciting. This community definitely can be the stereotypical shutdown on Friday nights, and it’s starting to get there.”
The Hawks sport a plethora of talent, all of which should be on display against a high-octane offense in Oceanside Friday. But Mullen and many of his teammates credit this year’s success to the coaching staff as well, which he says has rejuvenated the upperclassmen to perform at a high level.
“It’s been big for us seniors for us to have coaches that trust in us and that believe that we can do it,” Mullen said. “Since Day 1, summer, we’ve been thinking playoffs, playoffs, and just making a run. How cool that would be. And now that it’s here, it’s humbling. But we just gotta play.”